Butterflies…

‘Butterflies in your stomach. Butterflies in your stomach.’ It’s such a cliche but it takes experiencing it to understand how true it really is. I take deep breaths and stare down at the salted caramel cookies my Dad bought especially for today. I realise that this is actually happening.

The gentle rocking of the boat isn’t making me feel any better, I keep glancing up the towpath, nervously watching, waiting. I expect to see them any minute. I don’t really know what they look like. All I know, (well, all you’re allowed to know) is that I am being filmed for a casting development project for a mainstream TV channel. A London production company is coming to film me and my life.

This has all happened so fast and, although I’m nervous, I feel an elated anticipation. Suddenly they’re here, carrying a huge camera and looking professional. This is it, Gracie…..this is it……

It all goes so amazingly, I enjoy every minute. Every minute spent giving my opinions on big modern life issues, being interviewed on challenging topics like politics, feminism, social media, materialism, relationships and social care. Every minute talking about my life and the things I’m passionate about, reading poetry and stories in a voice that seems more powerful now there’s someone here especially to hear it. Every minute spent being absolutely myself.

It was intense and my brain whirrs just thinking about it now. But I was in my element, I like a challenge. I like people who value the perspectives of young people on modern society. I loved thinking about the questions and carefully wording my replies. I didn’t find it easy, but I had the opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it.

All in all, I may be accepted to participate in this programme or I may not. I would love to be able to share my thoughts on life even further, but if not, I am just eternally grateful for this experience and I’m proud of myself for making it happen and getting this far.

Please leave me a message in the comments box below, I absolutely love to hear from you all. Thanks! 

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A Light In The Darkness Part 6: The Ambassador’s Name

Demons haunted my sleep. “You have seen us and so you will die.” they hissed. I tried to wake up, but there was something about this slumber that was different. It felt like I was in a prison, trapped in the darkness and unable to free myself. I struggled for every minute of the seemingly endless sleep to wake up and find my way out.

Finally I broke through, gasping and sweating. My fingers closed around my cloak, it was covered in dried, crimson blood. I eased myself back down and stared up through at the canopy of leaves. Sunlight seeped through the gaps between the branches and touched my skin. It was so bright! I never knew how good the light was until that moment. I glanced around me.

I was laying on a sort of mossy bank and I could hear what sounded like a brook, bubbling somewhere nearby. I reached up to touch my head, it was pounding in a most peculiar and painful manner. My hand brushed a ragged cloth, again I could tell that it was crusted with blood.

“Faith.” my voice came out like a croak. “My name is Faith.” This made me laugh, despite myself. I don’t know why I was so deliriously happy. Perhaps it was because I knew I didn’t have Amnesia. I remembered the Ambassador and his strange behaviour in the moments before my accident. I even remembered the force of his hand pushing me hard to the floor.

Salty tears run down my cheeks. I trusted him. I thought he was good and kind and wanting to be my friend. I was so naive and now I had paid. I struggled to my knees and gritted my teeth against the searing, throbbing pain that plagued my head. “Ah!” I used the tiny incy bit of strength I had to heave myself to my feet and stumble off into the trees.

I had only walked a couple a steps when I began to feel extremely dizzy. I tried so hard to hold myself up, but it was no use.

I fell.

I don’t know how long I laid there, half conscious and moaning. It could have been minutes, even seconds, or it could have been hours. I only recollect two familiar arms folding themselves around my body and lifting me gently up.

Up, up, up.

High.

I was on top of the world.

All I could see was a deep, never-ending blackness, and I felt lost. “What if I’ve gone blind?” Stupid thoughts filled my barely conscious mind. Then I heard his voice and I didn’t care either way. “It’s ok.” he soothed, sitting me back down on the moss, I could feel its comforting springiness. I couldn’t see his eyes so I had no idea how he was feeling.

“I can’t see your eyes.” I whimpered. “Try opening your own.” he laughed. I did and was so overjoyed that I forgot to feel silly for not thinking of it before.

“Phoenix.” I spoke the word slowly, cocking my head to one side. An understanding passed between us.  “The bird that rose from the darkness in a glorious burst of flames and lit up the world with its light.”

This was so different to the way I had imagined telling him the name I’d chosen, but it seemed like the perfect moment. “I’m sorry, Faith.” he whispered. “You will forgive me, won’t you?”

“Of course!” I cried. “But why did you do it?”

His answer distressed me even further. “Because you’re my friend.”

“Then why did you push me?” My head started pounding again.

“I didn’t want you to leave. I knew they’d come to take you away from me and I, being the selfish person I am, wanted you to stay. I’m sorry, Faith. It wasn’t your fault. I was just hurt, and angry that you had to be taken away from me so soon.” he hung his head “Now I’ve ruined every chance I ever had of changing. I can never change, the dark side has crept into my mind and is poisoning me. I understand if you don’t trust me any more.”

I began to laugh and he glared at me. “Phoenix-” “Call me Ambassador.” He was angry with himself, I think he was on the edge of absolute despair. I had to make him understand.

“But I was never going to go with them! I decided that long before you found me!”

“What!? Don’t be stupid, Faith. They’re your friends.” he smiled ruefully. “So are you.” I said softly, turning sadly away.

“Huh?”

“I said you’re my friend too!”

He hugged me then, tightly like he’d never let me go. “Are you sure?” he asked, doubtfully. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “Phoenix, no one has ever been a better friend to me. No one has ever shown me so much, inspired me more, trusted me with their very identity. Honestly, please believe me.”

He gave a slight nod of his head, too overcome with emotion to speak. I nodded back happily and then sank, exhausted, back onto the mossy bank to sleep.

Da da da! All has been revealed! I find character’s motives in stories quite fascinating, don’t you? What did you think of The Ambassador’s name? I decided to stick with the original one that I chose. I think it suits him. Do you like the sort of prose-y vibe that I snuck into this installment? I hoped it would compliment the drama of this part of the storyline. Please leave me all your thoughts, questions and ideas in the comments below! It’s much appreciated, guys. 

See ya….😉

Gracie

Xxx

 

Introducing A Light In The Darkness: My New Novel

Hello People!

There comes a time in a writer’s life when they know that they are ready to take on something bigger. When they know that they have an idea that is deserving of a whole novel, not just a short story. A time when you know that your inspiration won’t run out suddenly, leaving you in frustrated fits of bitter writer’s block.

My time has come. That sounded so dramatic. 

This time I know​ I will succeed. So did that. 

So, I would like to introduce you to my novel: Light In The Darkness.

Basically, the whole idea is to use people to symbolise the battle between Light and Darkness. The storyline/plot sort of takes place inside a metaphor, if you get what I mean. Yup, complicated.

Anyhow, here is a brief overview:

Faith White wants to change the world. Witty and smart, she is an active campaigner for human rights all over the planet. She is internationally recognised as one of the youngest and most talented activists in the world.

But however much she thinks she may know, there are many things that will shock her. When she goes on a team building holiday/camping trip with her friends and fellow wannabe change-makers, she certainly doesn’t expect to be  shown a whole new world by a strange guy who seems to know a surprising amount about her, and her future. Suddenly she is stepping out of the light she has always known and into the realms where darkness rules. What truths will she discover lurking there? 

I’m better at writing actual stories than descriptions, as you’ve probably guessed. Nope, definitely guessed. Proven, in fact.

So please don’t judge. Please?

Now, I hope you’re intrigued ’cause I have a real treat for you guys coming right up. I’m actually really excited about this. I really want to know what you all think.

Here is an exclusive scene from Gracie Chick’s  brand spanking new novel, I hope you enjoy it! Hint: There’s a BIG twist at the end so keep reading on, and on, and on, and on. Ok, here goes:

You’re not the first kid to want to change the world.” he muttered “Really?” I asked, conversationally. “Really.” he seemed to stare straight past me, his amber eyes glowing in the gloom beyond the dimly lit campfire circle.

I glanced around coolly, fighting to keep my calm and sarcastic demeanour whilst this unnervingly smart and perhaps a little too ‘deadly serious’ stranger told me about my own life and future.

I stuck up my nose and stared right back at his face. “I didn’t know that.” I said loudly, half hoping that someone would come to my rescue. “Come to think of it, I guess Superman probably did when he was fourteen too.”

The guy gritted his teeth. “Look girl, I don’t think you get what I’m saying. Let me show you something.”

Before I could abruptly object, he had seized my hand and was yanking me away from the light and safety of the camp and away into the darkness of the forest.

His hair was black and thick and I could see the moonlight glinting on it as he dragged me forcefully along behind him. I used my free hand to try and release his grip. It was no use. He stopped and turned to hiss angrily at me. He sighed in frustration. “I’m trying to help you!” he exclaimed. “How!?” I stamped my foot in annoyance. “You’ve kidnapped me,  lost me in a woodland at midnight, my friends​ have no idea where I am, I have no idea who you are or where you’re taking me.” My voice rose into a panicky sort of screech.

He seemed to soften suddenly and his firm grasp on my hand loosened. “I promise that no harm will befall you,” he whispered gently “but you have to trust me. Now, do you want to come with me or not?”

I was shaking all over as I considered my options. I was sure he’d leave me here if I didn’t agree to go with him, but perhaps he’d lead me into an even greater danger? Then, he did promise, didn’t he? Do I trust him?

Finally I looked up at his haunting face. “Ok,” I regained my composure and swallowed hard. “Let’s go.” My voice was steely and cold. “I don’t know why I’m trusting you, but it seems I have no other choice.”

“Good.” he turned briskly away and headed off into the shadows. “Wait!” I stumbled after him, arms stretched tentatively out in front of me like a deluded zombie. “Your eyes will adjust.” he said shortly, with stopping nor turning around.

“Actually,” he stood still suddenly and spun round, his eyes burning into me. “you’ll need to change out of those clothes.” “What!?” I looked down at my white skinny jeans and pale grey hoodie in disbelief. My light blue converse glowed comfortingly in the moonlight. “Trust me.” he snapped. “Alright! Alright!” I growled back before disappearing into the dense thorny shrubbery that crept along the forest floor.

I pulled off my shirt, wondering what I was supposed to change into, when a long, black garment came flying through the air and landed softly on the ground before me.

I picked it up, it was smooth and stretchy and smelt like musty leaves. I slipped it on and it clung to my body like heavy, dark shadow, cold and damp.

“Hurry up.” he appeared beside me, making me jump. “May I ask a question?” I said hesitantly. “Go ahead.” he kept walking, silent as a wolf in its wilderness. “Where are we going and why?” “Two questions, if I’m not mistaken.” he seemed to find himself amusing. “You said you’d answer and I’m waiting.” I stood up for myself like I knew how, in my fiercest​ and most commanding tone.

“We are going to the realms of darkness.” he said simply. “Ha! Now I know you’re crazy.” I scoffed, starting to feel crazy myself. He looked at me unblinkingly. “No. I’m not. We are going there.” “Not possible.” I laughed uneasily, trying to reassure myself. “There’s no such place.”

“You’d be surprised.” he muttered. I was growing more anxious by the minute and suddenly burst out with a torrent of words that even I was slightly taken aback by. “Look, I don’t care who you think you are, you must explain yourself before we go any further. It is completely and utterly unfair of you to do all this without any explanation. I won’t continue unless you tell me who you are, where we’re really going, why you took me, how you know so much about me and why you’re so totally arrogant and rude and weird.”

He sighed and smiled ruefully. When he spoke there was a hint of sadness in his melodious voice. “It’s difficult. You’ll never believe me. It’s easier for you to see it with your own eyes first.”

“Please?” I replied softly, sinking down onto my knees amongst the leaves. He paused. “Ok,” he answered “but we must keep moving to arrive before morning.”

“Go ahead then.” I wearily rose back to my feet.

“Every now and then, throughout the history of time, there is a child who wants to change the world, make a difference, save the people. The believe they are well equipped, strong, able and capable.” the boy began his story, gliding across the leafy ground with hardly a rustle.

“Your ways are all the same. So hopeful, so optimistic, so sure.” he emphasised the last word, almost spitefully. “There are two sides to this world, though both tend to merge and hide within each other until it becomes impossible to distinguish the truth from the fakes and frauds. Unless you know where to look, of course.” he grinned at me as if there was something I didn’t know. I reached up to finger my hair nervously.

I almost screamed. It was jet black. “What is happening to me? I was blonde. I AM blonde.” I tried to control my confused anger. “Shhh!” he soothed “Listen to the story.”

“The sides have names: Dark and Light, Good and Evil.” “I know.” I told him. “ I fight for the Good and Light. That’s what I do. I try to be A Light In The Darkness.”

“You all say that.” he shrugged. “How do you know?” I asked. A faraway look came into his bright and alert eyes. “I know you all.” he whispered. “All of you. It is my job, as the Dark side’s ambassador to show you the truth, to show you the enemy. Because how can you fight us when you don’t know anything about us?”

And with that he bowed low, his shining hair brushing the floor. “Welcome to the realms of darkness, Faith.”

I screamed.  

Da da da!!! The drama! Even I’m getting scared and I know what happens next!

 Did you enjoy that? What did you think of the idea? Any feedback is absolutely welcome and appreciated. Would you like to read more snippets and scenes? Please let me know. Does anyone else have any novel-ish news to share so that we can compare notes and experiences? 

See you all later!

Gracie

 

 

 

 

The Writer’s Ink Challenge

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Hey guys! I was nominated by the amazing Saanvi @ One Notebook,One Pen And Me for The Writing Ink Challenge. So thanks so much to her!

I am really excited to do this as writing is my main passion in life. As a writer I extremely dislike clichés (anyone else?), but I can honestly say that writing is one thing I couldn’t live without. It is my way of expressing myself and being myself and I can’t imagine not being able to dig into my bank of inspiration and imagination and then into my vocabulary to find the right words to tell a story.

Now, onto the rules:

  • Thank the writer who nominated you (that’s you Saanvi, so much appreciation. It means the world!)
  • Answer the amazing writing-related questions. Cannot wait!
  • Nominate at least five writers/bloggers to do the tag. Warning: I know too many awesome people who would eagerly accept this challenge to nominate only five.

The Questions

When did you first start writing?

In all the photos of me growing up from a baby to a toddler to a kid to the thirteen year old I am now, you can never see my face. Why? Simply because it’s always stuck in a book. My love of words has fuelled my desire to write and I have been writing since I can remember. 

Have you always been interested in writing?

Yes, I have many other interests, but writing is the most important to me. Without it I don’t know what sort of person I’d be, it is so much a part of my personality, it fuels my confidence and it allows me to grow and be myself whilst doing something that feels like magic to me.

Why do you like writing?

My mind is filled with beautiful ideas, with characters good and evil and intriguing. My life is a story, a memory, an echo. I have to let it out onto paper or it will swallow me into its depths. No, I am its master, I will create it and then I will control it, not become a part of it. It is a part of me. 

I hope that makes sense for it is the reason writing is personally incredible for me. I also love it because it means I can share and connect with others, transport them into my world for a fleeting moment. Make them feel how I feel through the character. Show them things perhaps they never saw before.

What genre do you write in?

I think my style is quite unique. I enjoy to weave stories with a lot of emotion. I would say I mainly write realistic, yet creative fiction with poetry mixed in when I feel like it! 

Do you write poetry?

Yup! I love how something so short can be so powerful. I actually started my own campaign combining poetry with changing the world. I’m still looking for new participants so click here to find out more.

Have you ever written a story with a friend?

No, sadly not. I find the idea quite strange actually, it would certainly be a challenge. Has anyone else ever done this? 

How do you write your stories? First tense or second? Past tense or present?

I try to think of what will suit the piece, what will enhance it. I often write in the present tense, it is my go to form. Most of the time I just write what’s in my mind and see where it leads me. Someone once told me never to change tense during a piece of writing. Top tip there! 

Where do you see yourself writing-related in one month? One year? Ten years?

In one month I hope that I will have experienced many more things to write about and add to my ever-lasting bank of ideas. I hope to share many more with you all on this blog too!

In a year, I want to have met many other writers who I will be able to continue my wordy journey with. We’ll advise and support each other and exchange ideas and experiences.

Ten years is a long time to look ahead, but I know I’ll still be writing. Write on forever!!! 

Right, that’s done! Now for my nominees:

Rainbow Girl @ The Fabulous Rainbow Blog

Aqsa @ Aqsa Says What?

Little Helper @ Thoughts In Life

Elsie L.M.C

Emma @ Book Emma

Sumzoe @ The Unshackled Thoughts Of A Dreamer

Mintie Freshie

Adoma @ Girl From Ghana

Grace @ From The Tip Of Grace’s Pen

Grace @ The Girl Upstairs

Mirra @ A Young Writer’s Dream

Okay, I hope all of you guys are able to do the challenge and enjoy it! I also want to remind all you fellow writers of my writing competition that you have until May 1st to enter! Please, please, please submit a piece! I can’t wait to reveal the winners, but first I need more entries from you, wonderful writerly bloggers! Click here now to read more and submit your entry.

Goodbye for now and looking forward to reading all your posts!

Gracie

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Trust 💓

Hello there! Today’s plan: Family walk. Well, before I left I made the mistake of grabbing my notepad and pencil and now I’m afraid I don’t remember any of the actual walk. I do have what I hope is an awesome poem to share with you guys, though!

Trust

I know that when I’m lonely, you’ll always hold my hand,
And I know that if I tell you, you’ll always understand.

I know I disappoint you and that we disagree,
But I also know I trust you and that you trust me.

You know I’ll never leave you, I’ll never be gone,
Even though you’re far from perfect and you’re quite often wrong.

I know that when I’m happy, you’ll always share my joy.
And that when I tease you, you’ll never get annoyed.

Did I ever tell you how much you inspire me?
With every single breath you breathe.

Sometimes I think you look into my head,
To see what’s going on in there.
‘Cause you always seem to know what’s best for me.

By Gracie

Now, we also have a new addition to the ongoing anthology! My good blogging friend, Aqsa, has something she wanted to contribute. Yay!!!

Here is the link to her story:

Click here to read it!

Did you like my poem? What did you think of Aqsa’s honest and beautiful story? Let me know all your thoughts by leaving me one of your heartfelt comments below! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Bye….

Gracie

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The Anthology Continues: Prepare To Be Inspired And Captivated By The Power Of Stories

Hiya guys!😃

I’m back with the third part of the anthology I’m writing. I kicked off with two of my own experiences, ‘The Gift’ and ‘That Time I Stood Up For What I Believed’. You can read them here and here. I also asked you all to share your life-defining moments with me too, to add to the anthology I wanted to create. In ‘The Gift’, I presented two beautifully written and absolutely inspirational experiences that people had sent me.

Today I am extremely​ pleased to say that I have two more to give you!

I’ll start off with one from my own Nan, as some of you will probably have noticed, she comments on every single post I make, sharing her wise words and everlasting support. Thanks Nan! Here is her story, I will just explain it a little just so it makes sense to those of you who don’t know the circumstances.

My Uncle Andy, Nan’s son,  died a few months before I was born. He was a climber and tragically his passion cost him his life, though he lost it being brave and  trying to save someone else. His ashes are scattered at the summit of Great Gable, a mountain in the Lake District, UK. Although I never met him, I miss him because the people close to me do.

Now onto Nan’s story.

When I lost your Uncle Andrew I wanted to see the top of the mountain where he was. So with all the family I set out as a sponsored climb for mountain rescue. I was 62 years old at the time. The weather was terrible that day, wind and rain. Gracie, your Dad said to me “You don’t have to do this Mum.” I replied: “Yes, I do.”. A lot of people were egging me on and although it was the toughest thing I have ever done I was determined to reach the top. I raised a lot of money for mountain rescue to help other people. Which says to me that if you want to do something in life and have the inner strength and determination you can conquer all.

Isn’t this just incredible?

Now for one from the lovely Adoma, who blogs at https://girlfromghana.wordpress.com

Her story is quite long and I can’t figure out how to copy and paste on this phone that I’m having to use as it’s the only thing I can fit in Mo. I’m having several frustrating technical difficulties currently.  So sorry Adoma and everyone reading this, I’m just giving you the link.

Adoma wanted to share an emotional and difficult experience for her and I’m honoured that she’s allowing me to post the link here: https://girlfromghana.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/what-the-june-3rd-disaster-taught-me/

Please do go read it and leave her a comment. It would be much appreciated by us both!

I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you were inspired and captivated by the stories you’ve just read. I’d love you to send me your thoughts, always love hearing from you all!

Bye for now,

Gracie.

 

 

 

 

The Gift: My Second Story + The Exciting Start Of An Anthology

Hello there people! As promised, here is the second of my life-changing experiences that I said I wanted to share with you all. If you haven’t read my first post of this series, That Time I Stood Up For What I believed In,  please click here.

I am also still looking for bloggers who are willing to step forward and share their own stories with the world, by contributing to my anthology. All you have to do is comment below, leaving your experience and I’ll put it in a post with some other people’s, to represent a diverse array of positive and negative experiences that made us who we are today.  I have a few participators at the moment, some who’ve given their stories, others who’re still writing them. It would be great to have many more though.

So without further ado, I present:

The Gift by Gracie Chick (ME!!!)

I stand pressed against the wall, I can smell the chlorine from the pool and I’m gazing down at its green-blue depths through the glass of the viewing area window.  I am surrounded by jostling, noisy kids with wet hair, just come up from swimming classes. My own ponytail is dripping down my back uncomfortably. 

Usually I would be joining in the conversation, laughing and joking with my friends, but today is different. Today is so much different.

Bittersweet feelings are flooding my body and my mind, they are intensified as a familiar face emerges from the crowd. She looks at me sadly, and then just walks up and pulls me into a hug, I hug back, my eyes pricking with tears. 

I’ve only lived here seven months, but great and strong relationships can be formed in that time. And it’s often when you go to leave them, you realise what amazing friends they’ve been. 

Her Mum calls her name and she glances over her shoulder. 

“Gotta go.” There’s a moment of sad serenity as we say goodbye. 

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Another friend comes and stands by my side and together we watch her run out of the door and down the street, away from the leisure centre. “Hug?” my friend asks. “Yeah.” I hug her too, it seems that’s all I’ve done this morning. “Thank you for everything.” I say “For making us feel so welcome, for being so kind and thoughtful, for teaching us so many new things, for becoming such a great friend.” 

She smiles and thanks me too. “I’ve got something for you guys. I gave it to your Mum.” She says and then she has to leave too. I wave to her with a brave face, but inside I’m welling up with sadness. 

Back at the place that we wouldn’t be calling home for much longer, I suddenly thought of my friend’s words about the gifts she’d left us. Me and my siblings opened the packages that had been given to us by my friend’s family, people who had taught us so much. They had welcomed us into their own house, shared all their skills and passions with us and showed us true hospitality and kindness. 

They had already given so much. I opened the envelope addressed to me first and I started to read the letter inside. It was from the eldest daughter, my friend and teacher, thanking me for listening, learning and showing her so many new things. Then she began to tell me about the gift she had given me. 

 

 She had bestowed upon me the most precious thing she owned. I would prefer not to say what, because it is quite personal, but it was the meaning and the sentiment with which it was given that really touched my heart. 

Reading her honest, heartfelt words made the emotion that already filled my body spill out in the form of tears.

I could not believe that she had valued me so much as to give me the most meaningful thing in her life. In her beautiful letter she explained that it was ‘ the most precious thing that God granted me to have and I am thankful to have it.  “I have thought many times before about giving it to you, so now is a good opportunity”. 

I felt this great and overwhelming emotion, a mix of honour, sadness, joy and strength. I could the bond of our friendship getting tighter, not weaker, as we had said goodbye. I had the feeling that this relationship would just get stronger and grow as time went on.

So there you have it, my second experience, The Gift. For someone to give me the most valuable thing in their life, as a symbol of our friendship, showed me how important relationships really are. I made up my mind to treasure this gift and keep it always.

I hope you enjoyed reading it and now it’s your turn. Please send me an experience to include in my anthology, which will be spread out over several posts, so I can learn something from you.

I’ve decided to share the two experiences that I have received in this post today! Starting with one from the amazing Thoughts In Life.

Honestly, what I have learnt from a personal experience is to not allow others to change you. I was influenced when I was younger by a person very close to me and I became a person that today I cannot recognise. I became distant from the people I love, my attitude became unbearable, I changed for the bad. But after a while I realized this wasn’t who I was. I started changing my life around, and started being myself. No matter who you meet in life don’t allow them to control you or turn you into a person you are not.

And now for one from my Auntie Melissa, one of my most loyal readers.

I vividly remember when I was about 9 being in the school playground with my friend who was being bullied. We could’ve cowered in a corner and continued to be scared, instead we stood together and passively defied the bullies. We wouldn’t fight or call them names back, but together we refused to be afraid and do you know, they went away and left us alone after that.

I learnt that you just have to be true to yourself and your beliefs and in this case, for me, it is to ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’. In a kind and caring way. I still practise this as much as I can today and in my current work very much believe that if I want change, then I have to make it happen in my life before I can help and advise others to do the same. How can I ask someone to change something that I myself will not consider?

What did you think of all three stories? Please don’t hesitate to send me one yourself, it doesn’t have to be super long and detailed or a major experience, it can just be a little memory you have that always sticks with you and that you learned a lesson from. It can be short and brief, but powerful, like the ones above. 

Thanks y’all and bye for now..

Gracie 🙂 🙂 🙂

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That Time When I Stood Up For What I Believed In

Hello People!

I’d like to share with you two personal experiences that I hope will shape and inspire my future.

In return, I’m asking you to send me the experiences that have affected the way you live your life. I had the idea of creating an anthology of all YOUR most memorable and meaningful life events. All you have to do is comment your story, along with what it taught you in life. Then I’ll put them all together in a post (or two!), like a virtual book. P.S. If it’s a bit longer or more detailed, post it on your own blog and send me the link. Anyone is welcome to take part, so please don’t hesitate.

I’ll start off the anthology with mine. One of mine happened a long time ago and the other only yesterday, but both of them have made a huge impact on my life and thoughts, they’ve both taught me priceless lessons and showed me things I never really saw before.

I’m sorry that this post is so long, but please keep reading, as it’s so important to me and I’d love you to give me some feedback.

Today I’ll start with the first one, which was about three and a half years ago. The second one will be coming very soon……!

That Time I Stood Up For What I Believe In by Gracie Chick (ME!!!)

 I walk across the shiny wood floor, my walking boots thud dully and I listen to the sharp clackety- clack of all the other kids smart, black polished school shoes. I stride towards the other ten year olds, my usual shy smile replaced with a proud, confident beam. The source of my strength comes from the two gold lines that run down the sleeve on my ironed green sweater. Last week I was made a Sixer, an honour given to a few responsible, respected cub scouts. 

As I stand beside my fellow cub scouts, I can almost feel those lines radiating heat. “Gracie Chick!” A voice snaps me out of my imagination.  As I hear the leader’s words, I learn that the legendary Sixer’s conference has been called and I am told to join them, I need no encouragement.

All the younger and newer cubs, that I had once been a part of, whispered about what went on in that back room and, although everyone had their theories, none of us really knew. I knew that I was entering a new and exciting world now.

I watch as the more experienced and older members discuss what we’ll do on the special day that we get to ourselves, to practice team building and leadership skills. 

The suggestions keep on coming and I listen with interest. Suddenly someone says “What about laser tag?” and everyone agrees. “Yes! Yes! Laser tag. Perfect.” “Okay, well that’s settled then.” The leader glances round the room. Slowly and nervously I raise my hand.

“Yes, Gracie?”

“Um, what’s laser tag?” I asked tentatively. 

Everyone jumps in to try to explain it to me. 

“Basically, it’s a dark room and you get a laser gun and run round trying to shoot each other.”

“Kill as many people as you can.” 

“It’s just a game really, but it feels like a proper war.” 

I leave cubs that night with a furrowed brow and troubling thoughts on my mind. In the car on the way home to the farm where I live, I relay all the information to my Dad. I finish with “I can’t believe they find that fun!” 

My Dad thinks for a while and then says this, “Me neither Gracie, killing is never a game. Pretend guns or real guns, shooting is shooting. For too many people all over the world, war is real life. What would a kid who’s lost his family to war say if he saw people treating it like a game?” 

“I don’t want to go, Dad.” I whisper “I think it’s wrong, totally wrong.” My Dad nods sadly, he knows how much it meant to me. 

When I go home that night, I tell my Mum too and between my parents they come up with an idea. “Why don’t you email your leader and tell her how you feel about laser tag? Maybe you could talk to all the others about your reasons.” 

So I sat down and wrote this email to my cub leader. 

Dear Akela  (That’s what we call our leader)

I just wanted to talk to you about why I’d rather not do laser hub.
I feel that running around shooting people is not a game, because war makes people suffer and die!
If you’ve already booked it, it’s ok! I’d just rather not come. Maybe if you haven’t already booked it we could have a meeting about it in sixer and seconder council and I could share my views? Then we could have another vote? I’ve got some suggestions if it’s not too late.
I’ve never played shooting games with other kids and I don’t really feel comfortable doing it at cubs, if that’s all right.
I’ll mention my ideas when we have the meeting (if we can have it).
Yours,
Gracie

 

She replied the next day: 

Dear Gracie.
Thankyou for your thoughtful e-mail, I do completely understand your point of view, my own children were strongly discouraged from playing with guns when they were growing up for exactly the same reasons.
Having said that I do feel that Laser gaming is just that – an  imaginative game which has developed with all the new technology out there & I suspect that those Cubs who came up with the idea & who voted in its favour do not necessarily equate it with real life warfare. You are absolutely right that if at all possible we should discuss it.
I have added it to next week’s programme (Sixer / Seconder Council) although suspect it could develop into quite a debate. Just so you know where we are with planning,
Keego & I had discussed the possibility of going to a centre in Eastbourne where there is a laser quest option but there is also bowling. Can I talk to you tomorrow at X Country?  Akela
I started thinking immediately. What would I say? How would I explain myself? To this day, I still swear that it was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life. I wrote draft after draft on paper and then I scribbled it out and started again. 
Finally I decided on the words I would use and I was ready that next Wednesday nightthough my heart kept doing somersaults and I was scared of what the other kid’s reactions might be. They’d been so adamant about laser tag, how would they take to my suggestion? Would they think of me differently after this day?
I clutched my piece of paper as I walked through the door that night. I still remember the clean white kitchen, with out-of-date custard creams and black currant squash on the side. The other kids all gathered around the table. My Akela nodded at me and I managed a quick nervous smile before I began reading off of my paper. 
Last week we discussed the possibility of doing laser tag as our Sixer’s day out. For my own personal reasons, I’d rather not do that. If you’d like to know what they are, please feel free to ask me later.  However, I have another idea. I’d like to invite you all to come to my farm and play night games in the woods. We can light a campfire and cook over it.” 
Akela stepped in. “Who likes Gracie’s idea?” She asked brightly. A flurry of enthusiastic voices filled the air and almost made me fall over with surprise. I’d been gearing myself up for disagreement and disappointment, yet everyone seemed to positive.
And so that’s how it happened, my boldness changed their minds. We ran around the woods for hours, laughing and joking. We made our own food and stuffed our faces with chocolate fondue. Our bonds as a team certainly became stronger and we all made memories that night. 
And what did I learn from that experience? It taught me that I had to be the change I wanted to see in the world. It taught me that people will listen if you give them good reason to.
I want to know about the experiences that have shaped your lives? What’s the most meaningful thing that ever happened to you? Tell me your stories, I’ve told you mine. As I always say, your beautiful comments always fill me with hope. 
I especially value your opinions on my more personal and thought-provoking posts, so please send me a few words and I’ll reply. I’m also welcoming of comment discussions! 
Don’t forget that the second experience is coming soon, so watch this space….
Goodbye for now and remember to send me your own stories and thoughts!
Gracie
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Sojourner’s Truth

He said he’d set me free in a year if I worked hard. I did my best, I was so hopeful that me and my family would have a better future. When the time came, I reminded him of his promise. But the man had changed his mind. Back then I didn’t know that slavery was due to be abolished in New York when that time was up. Really he had no choice. 

Now it had been postponed and he, my slave master, had no intentions of letting us go when it was unnecessary. He was a cruel and self-centred man.  I remember the day I heard that news. The anger, disappointment and frustration that had been growing in me for so long reached its climax. I took my daughter and fled that place forever. 

We sought refuge with a family who abhorred slavery, me and my daughter were safe with them. Especially when they bought us for twenty dollars and gave us our freedoms. Of course I was happy, but I couldn’t help thinking of my fellow slaves, my many children, all of whom I knew were still toiling in the fields and bearing the lashes of the all too frequent whip. 

Slavery was abolished in our home state of New York soon after, to my absolute joy and relief. But when I tried to reunite with my son, I found out that he had been sold to someone in Alabama. That was against the law. Again, I felt that same strength inside me, fuelled by my grief and outrage. 

I was black and I was a woman, even though I was free, my rights were still little or nothing. What chance did I have of getting my son back? I didn’t know, but I had to try. I went to court, believe it or not. And I stood, in front of a crowd of all white men, and I stated my case. I was brave and it paid off. I won and my son came home to me. 

You may think I would be content with that, but no. I couldn’t bear the thought of all those slaves who were still under the power of their mean and heartless masters. The thought of the sickening stench of sweat and blood that I could still smell when I lay awake at night. When I closed my eyes I could see the straining muscles and pained expressions, hear the desperate cries resounding in my ears.

I didn’t know what I could do, but I knew that I had to do something. One day I just left my home and began walking. I changed my name to Sojourner Truth. A sojourner is a person who stays in one place for a short time, before moving on. A journeyer, a wanderer, a traveller.  I was searching for the truth. I was open, I learned as I went. I spoke, but most importantly, I listened. 

I walked the length and breadth of America, telling people about the plight of us slaves, about how skin colour doesn’t matter, how we feel things the same as anyone else, we are smart and brave and loving and loyal too. I told them about equality between humans, black and white, male and female. 

People got to hear of me I guess. I was known throughout the nation as a civil rights activist. I never really set out to be one, I was just a woman with faith and a message to share with others. I was some’s heroine and other’s enemy. But I didn’t care, I knew what I believed and I stood up for it.

I dedicated my life to the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Met Abraham Lincoln and told him the story of my life, played a part in recruiting troops to fight in the civil war to free my brothers and sisters who still suffered at the hands of their masters. I did everything in my power to wipe slavery off the earth.

That was the true story (retold by me) of a black slave woman named Isabella Baumfree, who became Sojourner Truth, a celebrated and admired civil rights activist, author of the famous and emotive speech ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ which you can watch below.

What do you think Sojourner would think of the world how it is today? Does she inspire you like she inspires me? What emotions does the video provoke in you? Do you have any questions? Please let me know how you feel about this post as I really value all your opinions and ideas.  Comment discussions always welcome! 

 

 

 

Kindness Is Always A Choice

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Travelling round the world on a bright yellow motorbike relying entirely on the kindness of strangers? “Impossible!” I hear you cry “Crazy!” Well, that’s exactly what Leon Legothetis has done. He’s made a documentary about it too, Kindness Diaries.

You know when you watch something and it just sets off a whole load of exciting thoughts in your head, like an explosion? When one leads to another and suddenly you have this brand new and amazing idea that you can’t stop thinking about? When you start to write the words in your mind and imagine what they’ll look like on paper? When you sit down to type them up on your blog to inspire others like it inspired you?

Well, that’s what I’m going to do. Listen up because I’m about to share an incredible story with you……

In short, Leon was a successful businessman who realised that life wasn’t all about money and self. So he decided to go off around the world experiencing human kindness and paying it back where he could. He bought an old motorcycle that he nicknamed Kindness 1 and off he went, with no money, food or belongings.

After seeing this program it made me form an idea I’m calling ‘world kindness’.

Watching Leon and Kindness 1 in The Kindness Diaries made me realise just how simple kindness really is. It all boils down to just one choice, to be or not to be, that is the question. There are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ about it.

In that moment you can think of yourself or you can think of others, the thoughts in your head and the decision that you make are the only determining factor of your kindness.

Anyone can make the choice. People can surprise themselves by just pushing everything self related to one side and saying yes. 

It can be quite a challenge to put human nature aside and go against your instincts, but there is kindness in all of us. We just have to let it take control. It’s that choice thing again!

The effects of world kindness could be unbelievable. All through history, war and greed have dominated. People have fought and killed over power and riches. But if every person on the planet decided to be kind perhaps we could break that pattern of thinking about self and make the future look a thousand times brighter.

We could defy the urge in us to think only of ourselves. We could stop arguing and fighting. We could start sharing instead of taking. We could achieve so much if we worked together. People would be happy and content. Because when you pay out kindness, it always comes back to you.

Imagine the world I have just described to you and remember the cost: just one, simple choice.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Your feedback and comments mean so much and I always want to discuss things with others.  Different opinions and ideas are always welcome!  

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